May 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

For the vast majority of African communities, the currency of exchange is trust. People come first! A key word here is ubuntu. The word is very difficult to render into a Western language. Desmond Tutu explained it this way: “When you want to give high praise to someone we say, “Yu, u nobuntu”; he or she has ubuntu. This means that they are generous, hospitable, friendly, caring and compassionate. They share what they have.

It also means that my humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in theirs. We belong in a bundle of life. We say, “a person is a person through other people. […] I am human because I belong, I participate, I share.” Ubuntu is best understood through the sayings that “I am because we are”; and “I participate, therefore I am.” Our humanity is intrinsically (and inextricably) linked to the humanity of others. We are ultimately humanized through our interaction and relationship to other people.

Mugendi M’Rithaa

Dr. M’Rithaa is a professor at one of Africa’s most interesting universities, Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), and is a co-founder with Byron Qually of Design With Africa.

About King'ori
Sillicon Valley Techie / Community Organizer / Activist. I dream of a day when the East African Federation shall become a reality!

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